Hurricane Sandy's huge size: freak of nature or climate change?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:10 PM GMT on November 13, 2012

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Hurricane Sandy was truly astounding in its size and power. At its peak size, twenty hours before landfall, Sandy had tropical storm-force winds that covered an area nearly one-fifth the area of the contiguous United States. Since detailed records of hurricane size began in 1988, only one tropical storm (Olga of 2001) has had a larger area of tropical storm-force winds, and no hurricanes has. Sandy's area of ocean with twelve-foot seas peaked at 1.4 million square miles--nearly one-half the area of the contiguous United States, or 1% of Earth's total ocean area. Most incredibly, ten hours before landfall (9:30 am EDT October 30), the total energy of Sandy's winds of tropical storm-force and higher peaked at 329 terajoules--the highest value for any Atlantic hurricane since at least 1969. This is 2.7 times higher than Katrina's peak energy, and is equivalent to five Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs. At landfall, Sandy's tropical storm-force winds spanned 943 miles of the the U.S. coast. No hurricane on record has been wider; the previous record holder was Hurricane Igor of 2010, which was 863 miles in diameter. Sandy's huge size prompted high wind warnings to be posted from Chicago to Eastern Maine, and from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Florida's Lake Okeechobee--an area home to 120 million people. Sandy's winds simultaneously caused damage to buildings on the shores of Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and toppled power lines in Nova Scotia, Canada--locations 1200 miles apart!

Largest Atlantic tropical cyclones for area covered by tropical storm-force winds:

Olga, 2001: 780,000 square miles
Sandy, 2012: 560,000 square miles
Lili, 1996: 550,000 square miles
Igor, 2010: 550,000 square miles
Karl, 2004: 430,000 square miles



Figure 1. Hurricane Sandy’s winds (top), on October 28, 2012, when Sandy was a Category 1 hurricane with top winds of 75 mph (this ocean surface wind data is from a radar scatterometer on the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Oceansat-2.) Hurricane Katrina’s winds (bottom) on August 28, 2005, when Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane with top winds of 175 mph (data taken by a radar scatterometer on NASA’s defunct QuickSCAT satellite.) In both maps, wind speeds above 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour are yellow; above 80 kph (50 mph) are orange; and above 95 kph (60 mph) are dark red. The most noticeable difference is the extent of the strong wind fields. For Katrina, winds over 65 kilometers per hour stretched about 500 kilometers (300 miles) from edge to edge. For Sandy, winds of that intensity spanned an region of ocean three times as great--1,500 kilometers (900 miles). Katrina was able to generate a record-height storm surge over a small area of the Mississippi coast. Sandy generated a lower but highly destructive storm surge over a much larger area, due to the storm's weaker winds but much larger size. Image credit: NASA.

How did Sandy get so big?
We understand fairly well what controls the peak strength of a hurricane's winds, but have a poor understanding of why some hurricanes get large and others stay small. A number of factors probably worked together to create a "prefect storm" situation that allowed Sandy to grow so large, and we also must acknowledge that climate change could have played a role. Here are some possible reasons why Sandy grew so large:

1) Initial size of the disturbance that became Sandy was large
Sandy formed from an African tropical wave that interacted with a large area of low pressure that covered most of the Central Caribbean. Rotunno and Emanuel (1987) found that hurricanes that form from large initial tropical disturbances like Sandy did tend to end up large in size.


Figure 2. The initial disturbance that spawned Sandy, seen here on October 20, 2012, was quite large.

2) High relative humidity in Sandy's genesis region
The amount of moisture in the atmosphere may play an important role in how large a hurricane gets (Hill and Lackmann, 2009.) Sandy was spawned in the Caribbean in a region where the relative humidity was near 70%. This is the highest humidity we saw during 2012 during the formation of any Atlantic hurricane.

3) Passage over Cuba
Sandy struck Cuba as an intensifying Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds. While the core of the storm was over Cuba, it was cut off from the warm ocean waters surrounding Cuba. Most of Sandy's large circulation was still over the ocean, though, and the energy the storm was able to extract from the ocean went into intensifying the spiral bands over water. When Sandy's core re-emerged over water, the hurricane now had spiral bands with heavier thunderstorm activity as a result of the extra energy pumped into the outer portion of the storm during the eye's passage over land. This extra energy in the outer portions of Sandy may have enabled it to expand in size later.

4) Interaction with a trough of low pressure over the Bahamas
As Sandy passed through the Bahamas on October 25, the storm encountered strong upper-level winds associated with a trough of low pressure to the west. These winds created high wind shear that helped weaken Sandy and destroy the eyewall. However, Sandy compensated by spreading out its tropical storm-force winds over a much wider area. Between 15 and 21 UTC on October 25, Sandy's area of tropical storm-force winds increased by more than a factor of two.

5) Leveraging of the Earth's spin
As storms move towards Earth's poles, they acquire more spin, since Earth's rotation works to put more vertical spin into the atmosphere the closer one gets to the pole. This extra spin helps storms grow larger, and we commonly see hurricanes grow in size as they move northwards.

6) Interaction with a trough of low pressure at landfall
As Sandy approached landfall in New Jersey, it encountered an extratropical low pressure system to its west. This extratropical storm began pumping cold air aloft into the hurricane, which converted Sandy into an extratropical low pressure system, or "Nor'easter". The nature of extratropical storms is to have a much larger area with strong winds than a hurricane does, since extratropical storms derive their energy from the atmosphere along a frontal boundary that is typically many hundreds of miles long. Thus, as Sandy made landfall, the hurricane's strongest winds spread out over a larger area, causing damage from Indiana to Nova Scotia.

Are we likely to see more such storms in the future?
Global warming theory (Emanuel, 2005) predicts that a 2°C (3.6°F) increase in ocean temperatures should cause an increase in the peak winds of the strongest hurricanes of about about 10%. Furthermore, warmer ocean temperatures are expected to cause hurricanes to dump 20% more rain in their cores by the year 2100, according to computer modeling studies (Knutson et al., 2010). However, there has been no published work describing how hurricane size may change with warmer oceans in a future climate. We've seen an unusual number of Atlantic hurricanes with large size in recent years, but we currently have no theoretical or computer modeling simulations that can explain why this is so, or if we might see more storms like this in the future. However, we've seen significant and unprecedented changes to our atmosphere in recent decades, due to our emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide. The laws of physics demand that the atmosphere must respond. Atmospheric circulation patterns that control extreme weather events must change, and we should expect extreme storms to change in character, frequency, and intensity as a result--and not always in the ways our computer models may predict. We have pushed our climate system to a fundamentally new, higher-energy state where more heat and moisture is available to power stronger storms, and we should be concerned about the possibility that Hurricane Sandy's freak size and power were partially due to human-caused climate change.

References
Emanuel, K. (2005). Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years. Nature, 436(7051), 686-688.

Hill, Kevin A., and Gary M. Lackmann (2009), "Influence of environmental humidity on tropical cyclone size," Monthly Weather Review 137.10 (2009): 3294-3315.

Knutson, T. R., McBride, J. L., Chan, J., Emanuel, K., Holland, G., Landsea, C., ... & Sugi, M. (2010). Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nature Geoscience, 3(3), 157-163.

Rotunno, R., & Emanuel, K. A. (1987). An air–sea interaction theory for tropical cyclones. Part II: Evolutionary study using a nonhydrostatic axisymmetric numerical model. J. Atmos. Sci, 44(3), 542-561.

The Atlantic is quiet, but a Nor'easter expected next week
The Atlantic is quiet, with no threat areas to discuss. An area of low pressure is predicted to develop just north of Bermuda on Wednesday, and the GFS model predicts that this low could become a subtropical cyclone as moves north-northeastwards out to sea late in the week.

The long-range models are in increasing agreement that a Nor'easter will develop near the North Carolina coast on Sunday, then move north to northeastwards early next week. High winds, heavy rain, and coastal flooding could affect the mid-Atlantic coast and New England coasts next Monday and Tuesday due to this storm, but it appears likely that the Nor'easter will stay farther out to sea than the last Nor'easter and have less of an impact on the region devastated by Sandy. Ocean temperatures off the coast of North Carolina were cooled by about 4°F (2.2°C) due to the churning action of Hurricane Sandy's winds, but are still warm enough at 22 - 24°C to potentially allow the Nor'easter to acquire some subtropical characteristics. I doubt the storm would be able to become a named subtropical storm, but it could have an unusual amount of heavy rain if it does become partially tropical. The Nor'easter is still a long ways in the future, and there is still a lot of uncertainty on where the storm might go.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting LargoFl:
I just do not understand people today, now IF you studied the earths climate history then you would know, the earths climate is always changing, yes slowly but changing always from hot to cold-cold to hot..always changing...so to say climate change IS real..Is a true statement....Just read a scientific journal on florida..florida since its beginning has been totally under water 4..yes FOUR times..which means at 4 points in florida and the earths history, the ice did indeed melt and the water table rose up..and it will probably happen once again in the earths history..........to say climate change is NOT real, just does not make any sense to me..its ALWAYS changing..period


Agreed on the literal meaning, I think the way people use it is more as "global warming based at least to a large degree on humans burning fossil fuels." Which is a different point (and still real, though plenty of folks here disagree, I'm sure.)

Also, I think that humanity is... well, we've built this whole "human civilization" thingy during a time of real relative stability, climate wise, at least for the most part. I don't think that many people alive today even understand the scale of havoc from the Dust Bowl, much less the scale of havoc we can see from a shifting global climate. It's sort of a continuation of the "it can't happen here, and it won't be so bad" tendency, something that I think really is going to bite us as we go forward. Sometimes, it really _is_ that bad, and we're going to have to contend with that, but most of this country has never gone through a genuine catastrophe, really, and so it's, like, the stuff of a few overwrought disaster movies.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world -- at least much of it -- sure does know about how bad it can get, but we haven't been listening.

I just hope we start to really see it in dribs and drabs, and do our best by each other and future humans, _before_ the suffering gets vastly, vastly worse (and FU beyond all repair, moreso as we go).
Member Since: August 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 368
Since 1970, the U.S. Southeast has warmed about 2 degrees Fahrenheit. As warming continues, Florida is expected to be one of the hardest hit in the region. For unabated emissions, the number of 90 degree Fahrenheit days is expected to rise significantly. Throughout much of Florida, there were approximately 60 such hot days per year in the 1960s and 70s; by the end of the century, that is expected to climb to approximately 165 hot days.....now my note..just imagine..a summer..lasting 165 days..geez
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Evidence indicates a trend toward global warming. If the world�s temperature warms, this may mean that the sea level will rise along most of the world�s coastlines. Florida has an extended coastline and many major cities are near the coast. Any rise in sea level poses a threat.
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I just do not understand people today, now IF you studied the earths climate history then you would know, the earths climate is always changing, yes slowly but changing always from hot to cold-cold to hot..always changing...so to say climate change IS real..Is a true statement....Just read a scientific journal on florida..florida since its beginning has been totally under water 4..yes FOUR times..which means at 4 points in florida and the earths history, the ice did indeed melt and the water table rose up..and it will probably happen once again in the earths history..........to say climate change is NOT real, just does not make any sense to me..its ALWAYS changing..period
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Climate Change Denier Likely to Lead Congressional Science Committee
By Christine Gorman November 14, 2012


September 2012 was the 331st consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th-century average Credit: NOAA



Republican Party leaders in the House of Representatives will decide whether Representatives Lamar Smith of Texas, James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin or Dana Rohrabacher of California will succeed Ralph Hall, also of Texas, as chair of the House Committee. Because of term limits, Hall cannot continue heading the group, which has jurisdiction over energy research, NASA, the National Weather Service and the National Science Foundation, among other things.


http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/ 2012/11/14/climate-change-denier-likely-to-lead-co ngressional-science-committee/
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6064
Quoting hydrus:
He reminds me of Lincoln.....He can cram volumes into just a few words...Or dots..



Grothar is better than Lincoln....he gives his two cents...
Lincoln is ..... just one.

Do you see my points? :)


btw this comment is still pointless...:P
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Quoting DocNDswamp:
re: 636. nrtiwlnvragn

Once again, thanks nrt!
There's been much refining how subtropical systems are classed, seems I recalled there was a limitation, perhaps not... LOL, I also remember a period when small-scale subtropical features were called neutercanes.

Again, will be curious how NHC's TCR analyzes Sandy in the period described, regardless of my own determinations.
;)




Beven had a presentation this year, Cyclone Type Analysis and Forecasting: A Need to Re-visit the Issue. Also, NHC did change the definition (by expanding) of a Subtropical cyclone.


Yes, the TCR for Sandy is much anticipated.
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Quoting LurkyMcLurkerson:


Above average in providing useful info, I'd say. :D
He reminds me of Lincoln.....He can cram volumes into just a few words...Or dots..
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Quoting pcola57:


I see your point Gro.. :)


So whatever I am saying is pointless,,,, =)

This looks interesting,,,it probably even has a point
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Quoting Slamguitar:
President Obama is holding a news conference right now on climate change and it's realities.


I just saw him on TV at the conference as a reporter asked a question about Sandy if it was related to Global Warning and he said "Climate Change is real".
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re: 636. nrtiwlnvragn

Once again, thanks nrt!
There's been much refining how subtropical systems are classed, seems I recalled there was a limitation, perhaps not... LOL, I also remember a period when small-scale subtropical features were called neutercanes.

Again, will be curious how NHC's TCR analyzes Sandy in the period described, regardless of my own determinations.
;)

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Quoting hydrus:
Great post.


Above average in providing useful info, I'd say. :D
Member Since: August 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 368
President Obama is holding a news conference right now on climate change and it's realities.

And other things...
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Quoting Jedkins01:



Well it would solve the problem IF people in power actually were willing to switch over to cleaner energy as it becomes more available. However, we all know that is not going to happen easily. I'm actually happy about seeing the U.S. heading towards energy independence because the nation will be less dependent on foreign energy. However, the upsetting part, is that I doubt the energy independence will have much lead into independent energy that is cleaner. It should only be short term, but sadly it probably won't, oil always wins in this country.



Not just in this country....
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Quoting Grothar:
.
Great post.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I heard about the news of the U.S becoming oil independent and using our own resources.I hope so.So many people have lost their lives in trying to get this oil it's rediculous.That's one of the reasons we were fighting in the war.

522..sounds like people are having their freedom being taken away from them just like I said.Just look here in D.C..they are making us pay 5 cent for plastic bags.


They do that here in Wales too. Though, nip over to England and don't have to LOL Reckon they'll implement it at some point too. I've used reusable bags for a long time anyway, especially when I didn't drive...nothing worse on your hands than the handles of heavy plastic grocery bags! So have used big fabric ones for ages.
Member Since: October 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 863
Quoting pcola57:


Yes they are a stubburn chew..but worth it.. :)
By the by..still waiting for a price on that surf board..j/k :)
I would like to get $400 for it. It will only go up in value as it is collectable and in superb condition.:). The pattern seems to keep the lows that form very far south than a typical Nor,Easter.
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Quoting Jedkins01:


Well I figured the volcano crashing aliens must have something to do with all this climate change, they must control the heat vents...


I agree.....a little Mayan told me.

12.21.12 is when they open them up for real :D
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Quoting hydrus:
I meant no ill will. He can be obnoxious at times, especially when he calls everybody bud. I will not put grammatical quips in my post any longer.


It really did make me laugh, too. I, for one, deserve and appreciate a good-natured ribbing when I do similar. But, you know, brains -- they are weird things, sometimes.
Member Since: August 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 368
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
In a word, "Proof." No proof of creation or a higher being. No proof global warming caused Sandy to be as big, destructive or unusual as she was.


Only idiots claim that Sandy was "caused" caused by AGW. No legitimate climate scientist would make such a statement. AGW doesn't cause weather, it influences weather.

Don't kid yourself about science. Science did not convince humans to evacuate Staten Island. Plaquemines for Isaac. Bolivar for Ike.


Science is not about convincing anyone of anything. Convincing requires bias, and science is supposed to be impartial. Science will say, "The likely storm surge will be 12 feet". It is up to the individual ultimately whether or not they will take action on the science. You either listen to it, or you don't. But you better be damn well prepared for the consequences if you don't.

For solving any problem that involves the ever present human factor, a game plan with a view of "Science vs Mythology," will not work.


You're right, because that quickly boils down into faith vs. facts at which point any argument becomes useless. Blind faith will trump facts, as can be seen by those people who refuse to evacuate because "god will protect them".

Faith is fine. But when faith flies in the face of reality, that's when problems begin.


After all, we do have Colleges of Arts and Sciences. If humans are going to fight their way out of this paper bag, they'll need all the brainpower they can get, from both sides of their brains.


You can be creative without bringing in mythology/faith, nor does being a godlss heathen automatically make you Vulcan.



Also, regarding the conversation in comments last night. Whatever words or actions, there are as many different interpretations possible as there are humans on earth. Another example of, let me call it "Humanity," the reason pure science will not work for changing the human condition.


No, but science and facts SHOULD be able to convince people that certain courses of action are better than ideological onces. Unfortunately, as a species we will probably need a few thousand years more of evolution before that happens.
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Quoting pcola57:


I see your point Gro.. :)


I just wanted to elucidate everything for you. :)
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Quoting Jedkins01:



Well it would solve the problem IF people in power actually were willing to switch over to cleaner energy as it becomes more available. However, we all know that is not going to happen easily. I'm actually happy about seeing the U.S. heading towards energy independence because the nation will be less dependent on foreign energy. However, the upsetting part, is that I doubt the energy independence will have much lead into independent energy that is cleaner. It should only be short term, but sadly it probably won't, oil always wins in this country.


Well the silver lining (if you want to call it that) is that oil simply cannot win forever because our supply is limited...

Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
Quoting Grothar:
.


I see your point Gro.. :)
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616. DocNDswamp

The NHC definition of a Subtropical Storm technically does not have an upper limit.


Subtropical Storm:
A subtropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed (using the U.S. 1-minute average) is 34 kt (39 mph or 63 km/hr) or more.


As opposed to a Tropical Storm, which does.

Tropical Storm:
A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed (using the U.S. 1-minute average) ranges from 34 kt (39 mph or 63 km/hr) to 63 kt (73 mph or 118 km/hr).
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Quoting aspectre:
iterate or reiterate -- [in this particular usage] repeat for the purpose of emphasis

C'mon guys... within contest, the intended meaning is extremely obvious, and the intended word only slightly less so*.
More than a typo and less than a spoonerism, it ain't as if we all ain't been guilty of a similar mental cross-firing at sometime or another.

* ie The word isn't used often enough in common conversation to be considered a part of "basic English" in the manner that 'repeat' is.
I meant no ill will. He can be obnoxious at times, especially when he calls everybody bud. I will not put grammatical quips in my post any longer.
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Quoting pcola57:


It may make it..but barely..


Looking forward to some constant rains later this month and through December.
In fact, if it rained all dry season it would be fine with me.
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Quoting MrMixon:


In my experience, beer is ALWAYS an appropriate choice for toasting among us geo types. Indeed, I brew my own and plan to crack open one of my bitters tonight to celebrate getting that application in the mail.

We're having another boring, er, I mean "quiet" weather day here in Colorado:


Ha, I never need more excuses to drink beer, but I'll take it! Cheers to the application. Cheers to the pretty, too.
Member Since: August 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 368
Quoting hydrus:
If I remember correctly, your teeth must be healthy and in good order before chewing even a few pounds of Ju Ju Beans..I bit into one many years ago and could not chew it due to its adhesive properties...Freedent anyone?..:)


Yes they are a stubburn chew..but worth it.. :)
By the by..still waiting for a price on that surf board..j/k :)
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.
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Quoting yoboi:


you lost me with letting the goverment to manage the funds....


Hahahaha!

Thing is, consumers need more choice of non-polluting things too...and cheap enough that not only people on good incomes can afford them. You can get all sorts of hybrid cars here, and you pay less road tax for them...but the cost of them or the maintenance of them is so much higher, it totally negates any savings on road tax. So if you don't have a lot of money, you're still stuck with the old options. Same for any kind of renewable energy at home. A lot of people could never afford to get off the grid, so stuck with it, even if the energy companies are ripping you a new one, need a lot fo capitol to buy and put in place enough to run off of. If oil company subsidies were instead given to consumers who went self sufficient for energy needs, that could help maybe?! And of course car companies need to offer viable and cheap alternatives to traditionally fueled cars. Not sure electric is any better though being many electric companies pollute just as much to create the electricity! It's a hard road to go down, and maybe why so many are against it, cause it's not the easy option?
Member Since: October 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 863
Quoting pcola57:


It may make it..but barely..
(PS..I always forget to stock up my ju-ju bean supply..)

If I remember correctly, your teeth must be healthy and in good order before chewing even a few pounds of Ju Ju Beans..I bit into one many years ago and could not chew it due to its adhesive properties...Freedent anyone?..:)
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Quoting aspectre:
iterate or reiterate -- [in this particular usage] repeat for the purpose of emphasis

C'mon guys... within contest, the intended meaning is extremely obvious, and the intended word only slightly less so*.
More than a typo and less than a spoonerism, it ain't as if we all ain't been guilty of a similar mental cross-firing at sometime or another.

* ie The word isn't used often enough in common conversation to be considered a part of "basic English" in the manner that 'repeat' is.


As much as it did make me laugh in this particular instance, given the meaning involved, I do agree with your point. I can be a typo factory some days, and I definitely have had plenty of my own brain fart moments, too.

^"within contest" hee. No, seriously, I do that crap all the time, some days more than others. Spellcheck doesn't help when it is a word, either, and is simply the wrong word. I usually chuckle when it's an especially funny mistake and figure I got the drift regardless.
Member Since: August 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 368
Quoting Xyrus2000:


Nonsense. Science can't explain everything because science has yet to research everything. We know a lot, but the universe is a big place. Every time we come across something unknown, it is time to explore and study. Just because something is not understood NOW does not automatically imply invisible sky wizards or volcano crashing aliens are responsible.


Well I figured the volcano crashing aliens must have something to do with all this climate change, they must control the heat vents...
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iterate or reiterate -- [in this particular usage] repeat for the purpose of emphasis

C'mon guys... within context, the intended meaning is extremely obvious, and the intended word only slightly less so*.
More than a typo and less than a spoonerism; it ain't as if we all ain't been guilty of a similar mental cross-firing at sometime or another.

* ie The word isn't used often enough in common conversation to be a part of "basic English" in the manner that 'repeat' is.
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Quoting Jedkins01:



Good luck convincing Americans that taxes need to be raised. Somehow American privileges became "rights". Now we have a "right" to everything. Who gave us these "rights" anyways? Is authority of being human on the Earth give us "rights" to abuse and destroy it? Or does authority over the Earth mean it's our job to take care of it?

Call me "unpatriotic", but I think our obsession with "rights" and self edification is becoming our downfall in this country.

People want it both ways here, they want the government to do everything and fix everything, but they freak about taxes and restriction...



I totally agree. When I hear about soccer moms who need mega SUVs to tote around kids and equipment, or for that matter people around here who "need" Hummers for road conditions, I think "want, not need".
Member Since: December 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1234
Quoting Xyrus2000:


People seem to miss a few important details. This isn't the first time tapping oil shale has come up, but tapping oil shale must become economically viable. With current echnology it really isn't, and the pollution factor from doing so is not something to be ignored. It's a pretty nasty process.

Even if a clean way to tap it becomes viable, at the current rate of increase of consumption if we had an efficient way to get at all the oil it wouldn't last more than a couple of decades.

This also ignores the impacts of burning millions of more tons of fossil fuels.

In short, there is really nothing new here. Tar sands and oil shales have been speculated about for quite some time. Now that our "dealers" are drying up, we're now searching under our couches for partially filled needles to feed out addiction.

This does not solve the problem.



Well it would solve the problem IF people in power actually were willing to switch over to cleaner energy as it becomes more available. However, we all know that is not going to happen easily. I'm actually happy about seeing the U.S. heading towards energy independence because the nation will be less dependent on foreign energy. However, the upsetting part, is that I doubt the energy independence will have much lead into independent energy that is cleaner. It should only be short term, but sadly it probably won't, oil always wins in this country.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Their are some things that science cannot explain.Some things are still un known in the universe and those unknown things well most of them should stay unknown for the better of man kind.At least that's what my professor told me over some 20 years ago.Somethings cannot be given a explaination.Some people who have nothing wrong with them say they might have seen a ghost but cannot scientifically explain it because no one will beleieve them..but they know what they saw and it will belong in the category of the unknown...


Nonsense. Science can't explain everything because science has yet to research everything. We know a lot, but the universe is a big place. Every time we come across something unknown, it is time to explore and study. Just because something is not understood NOW does not automatically imply invisible sky wizards or volcano crashing aliens are responsible.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I heard about the news of the U.S becoming oil independent and using our own resources.I hope so.So many people have lost their lives in trying to get this oil it's rediculous.That's one of the reasons we were fighting in the war.

522..sounds like people are having their freedom being taken away from them just like I said.Just look here in D.C..they are making us pay 5 cent for plastic bags.


People seem to miss a few important details. This isn't the first time tapping oil shale has come up, but tapping oil shale must become economically viable. With current echnology it really isn't, and the pollution factor from doing so is not something to be ignored. It's a pretty nasty process.

Even if a clean way to tap it becomes viable, at the current rate of increase of consumption if we had an efficient way to get at all the oil it wouldn't last more than a couple of decades.

This also ignores the impacts of burning millions of more tons of fossil fuels.

In short, there is really nothing new here. Tar sands and oil shales have been speculated about for quite some time. Now that our "dealers" are drying up, we're now searching under our couches for partially filled needles to feed out addiction.

This does not solve the problem.
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TAMPA BAY if WATER LEVEL rose 9 FEET.......PIC WONT POST BUT IM SAFE...
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Quoting percylives:


As someone wrote recently global warming cannot be classified as a direct cause of Sandy but rather a systemic cause.

Global warming has so altered the entire climate system that storms like Sandy become more likely. This is the much more logical and supportable assumption.

As far as the CA "cap and trade" system being initiated why not use a direct fossil fuel carbon tax coupled with a fossil fuel dividend paid back to the entire population. Done nationwide this would use all the market forces to change behavior. People would seek to stay away from fossil fuels as much as possible to maximize their "earnings" by not paying as much tax while still earning the dividend. Let the other guy pay. If the tax was charged as the fossil fuel came out of the ground all industry, including the fossil fuel industry, would have to pay the tax. It would just be another cost passed on by industry to the final user of the fossil fuel. The cost might become part of an airline ticket or part of a bicycle but would be paid by the final consumer. The free market system with this small twist would do the job. A small percentage of the tax collected could be kept by the government to manage the system but the vast majority would be returned to the populace as an incentive to further cut fossil fuel use.

For if we don't solve this problem, we're wasting time on the rest of them.



Good luck convincing Americans that taxes need to be raised. Somehow American privileges became "rights". Now we have a "right" to everything. Who gave us these "rights" anyways? Is authority of being human on the Earth give us "rights" to abuse and destroy it? Or does authority over the Earth mean it's our job to take care of it?

Call me "unpatriotic", but I think our obsession with "rights" and self edification is becoming our downfall in this country.

People want it both ways here, they want the government to do everything and fix everything, but they freak about taxes and restriction...
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Hello and g'day Dr Jeff,
Well, I know you've anxiously awaited my input on this... ;)

"Sandy's huge size: freak of nature or climate change?"

My opinion, overwhelmingly - a freak of nature... as all the right sequences of meteorological events came together at the right time, unfortunately, wrong location with terrible consequences.

Keeping the focus in this post on how it got so large a system, I think the most important period you could have delved further into was after your point, "4) Interaction with a trough of low pressure over the Bahamas"... For the most remarkable evolution of Sandy occurred Fri Oct 26 / Sat Oct 27 as best available evidence via observations, satellite imagery and upper layer analysis from multiple sources supports that Sandy transitioned into a rare hybrid, an extraordinary Subtropical Cyclone of hurricane intensity and continued exhibiting such characteristics up to the point it transitioned to post-tropical prior to landfall... Plus, both subtropical and extratropical systems equally exhibit such vast, sprawling wind fields.

I'll add reference to the NHC's analysis as early as the Oct 26 Friday evening 11 PM NHC discussion reflects the enormous transformation underway, described as "SANDY IS SHOWING CHARACTERISTICS OF A HYBRID CYCLONE THIS EVENING. OVERALL...THE SYSTEM LOOKS LIKE A LARGE OCCLUDED FRONTAL LOW."... Furthermore, note the surface wind radii has dramatically expanded between the advisories on Oct 26 at 8 PM of "H force winds extend 35 miles / TS force winds extend 275 miles out" to 11 PM advisory of "H force winds extend 70 miles out / TS force wind extend 415 miles"...

We know Sandy grew ever larger, gaining notoriety as one of the largest wind fields of a tropical cyclone on record. However, I'd suggest this claim (along with MSLP and related records) deserves an asterisk and distinctly clarified, given by then it is well-established Sandy has a hybrid structure (and characteristics), thus more difficult to make a direct comparison to purely warm-core tropical cyclones under upper level ridging (or during conventional interaction with an approaching upper trough)... Additionally I might suggest, strengthening during the latter period was almost entirely driven by upper level dynamics / baroclinic forcing, with minor contribution from tropical warm core dynamics - i.e, despite some convection maintained around it's center and passage over warm Gulf Stream SST's, storm energy derived primarily via core convection / latent heat release had steadily declined... further evidenced by recon and surface observations that strongest winds were occurring over 100 miles from center, and not within what remained of the eyewall.

In a nutshell, a few salient points from my analysis concerning the evolving upper environment of this crucial period from Fri Oct 26 onward shows -

* Unusually deep, negative geopotential height anomalies in the upper level environment developed over a large portion of the region, replacing the hurricane's former anticyclone aloft...

* Transformation was enhanced by a developing subtropical jet streak that helped drive a Pacific front across the Gulf EWD well ahead of the CONUS polar trof, and forced the ULL / upper trof that had been over W Cuba to merge with Sandy... While I've yet to see anyone else mention this, I believe the role played by subtropical jet stream was an important element.

* In the process the typically tight / confined 400-250 mb upper level tropical vortex component atop Sandy was sheared off, then redeveloped as a larger vortex within a cyclonic gyre...

* Upper level troughing regime both encompassing and atop the storm continued to deepen - on Oct 26 0Z the minimum height 300 mb core atop Sandy was at 9560 meters, by Oct 28 12Z the 300 mb height had fallen another 160 meters to 9400...

* Upper air analysis further supports that Sandy is captured within a cyclonic gyre as the depicted surrounding height / pressure contour field's (isopleths) slope profile is distinctly concave...

* Analysis in this time frame suggests development of Winter season type phasing of the polar and subtropical jet streams with Sandy caught in the middle...

I'll conclude by suggesting the NHC consider revisiting the classification threshold of subtropical systems being limited to TS force intensity. For I believe in this rare instance, Sandy became an extraordinary one-of-a-kind Subtropical Cyclone Sandy at hurricane intensity for some 48-60 hrs as it most closely exhibited such characteristics within that period, then transitioned to post-tropical prior to landfall... That said, it will be interesting to see how the NHC handles this analysis in their post-season TCR on Sandy.

And, lol, this is the short text version of my analysis, sans the plethora of supporting upper layer analysis graphics, imagery and greater details describing the entire process...
;)
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Quoting pottery:


The price of ju-ju beans is directly and inversely proportionate to the state of the Climate.
Price is through the roof right now.
Good thing I've got 846 tons stashed away.

Some nice showers down here over the w/e and continuing.
Looking at a decent area of convection way out in the Atl and wondering if it will make it all the way here.


It may make it to ya..but barely..
(PS..I always forget to stock up my ju-ju bean supply..)

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Quoting yoboi:
data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2000-047.pdf


Thanks for the link. And at least for the period it covers, gets right to my question above:

"Data collected by the National Interagency Fire Centre for the years 1991 to 1997 show
that lightning, debris burning and arson are consistently the three main causes of fires in
the US. For 1997 the following were the main causes of fires: debris burning 31%; arson
19%; lightning 11%; equipment 8%; children 5%; cigarettes 4%; campfires 3%; railroad
3%; and miscellaneous 15%. However, three quarters of the land burned - 76% - was due
to lightning."

Last aside for the moment is that I know a lot of folks in Forestry, and all of them have thought for ages that our fire management has really been in need of some rethought, especially in the west. I agree with them. I think that the longtime USFS policy of stopping _all_ natural fires really doesn't work well, and conservationists are really shifting in ideas about how best to manage this stuff ecologically, lots of work now going into controlled burns etc. Some of the biggest fires in the past have been in areas where smaller burns have been tamped out very quickly, leaving tons of dry material building up for larger fires later.

It gets complicated, all of it. But it's very linked to rainfall patterns here, too -- all of it interacting: climate changes, historical forest management, human development, so on.
Member Since: August 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 368
Global warming has raised sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Scientists expect 20 to 80 more inches this century, a lot depending upon how much more heat-trapping pollution humanity puts into the sky. This study makes mid-range projections of 1-8 inches by 2030, and 4-19 inches by 2050, depending upon location across the contiguous 48 states.

Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges. For over two-thirds of the locations analyzed (and for 85% of sites outside the Gulf of Mexico), past and future global warming more than doubles the estimated odds of “century” or worse floods occurring within the next 18 years — meaning floods so high they would historically be expected just once per century. For over half the locations analyzed, warming at least triples the odds of century-plus floods over the same period. And for two-thirds the locations, sea level rise from warming has already more than doubled the odds of such a flood even this year.

These increases are likely to cause an enormous amount of damage. At three quarters of the 55 sites analyzed in this report, century levels are higher than 4 feet above the high tide line. Yet across the country, nearly 5 million people live in 2.6 million homes at less than 4 feet above high tide. In 285 cities and towns, more than half the population lives on land below this line, potential victims of increasingly likely climate-induced coastal flooding.

About half of this exposed population, and eight of the top ten cities, are in the state of Florida. A preliminary independent analysis suggests about $30 billion in taxable property is vulnerable below the three-foot line in just three counties in southeast Florida, not including the county with the most homes at risk in the state and the nation, Miami-Dade. Small pockets or wide areas of vulnerability, however, exist in almost every other coastal state.

The population and homes exposed are just part of the story. Flooding to four feet would reach higher than a huge amount of dry land, covering some 3.0 million acres of roads, bridges, commercial buildings, military bases, agricultural lands, toxic waste dumps, schools, hospitals, and more. Coastal flooding made worse by global warming and rising seas promises to cause many billions of dollars of damage over the coming decades.

This report and its associated materials, based on two just-published peer-reviewed studies, is the first major national analysis of sea level rise in 20 years, and the first one ever to include:

Estimates of land, population and housing at risk;
• Evaluations of every low-lying coastal town, city, county and state in the contiguous U.S.;
• Localized timelines of storm surge threats integrating local sea level rise projections; and
• A freely available interactive map and data to download online (see SurgingSeas.org).

Summaries of these findings at a state-by-state level are available in fact sheets and the original peer-reviewed studies are available as well. All findings reflect best estimates from the research; actual values may vary.

This report focuses on new research and analysis, not recommendations; but it is clear from the findings here that in order to avoid the worst impacts, the United States must work to slow sea level rise by reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases, and work to diminish the remaining danger by preparing for higher seas in coastal cities and counties everywhere. SurgingSeas.org/responses/plans lists a selection of existing resources, plans and efforts to prepare, from local to national levels.
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Quoting LurkyMcLurkerson:


Is that by number of events, or acres burned? I could see the number of fires, including smaller ones, having a lot more to do with direct human activity as a percentage than the acreage involved.

The Moonlight Fire from a few years back was human-accidental (from a campfire, as I recall), but it's the only one up around here I can recall that burned a really significant chunk in the last while. Some of those lightning storms this summer caused some havoc up around the northern inner coast range and then also over in Plumas Co, and the fires up around the border and into Klamath were _awful_ this year, in terms of acreage. I think all of that was lightning.

But we do have a lot of smaller grass fires and things that are often some idjit throwing a cigarette out the window, or parking the still-hot car in the tall dry grass; they're frequent, they just usually don't get nearly as out of hand.


All instances of forest fire. That 25% number provided by Northern Arizona University may be a little misleading, however, because they do no count accidental forest fires created by man in their count only arson.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

How's the weather in Mattoon Charleston area? Good I'm assuming?


Been very windy, even had a bit of snow on the car Monday morning.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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